Jung & Pauli: A Fateful Synchronicity

May 7, 2024

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May 7, 2024 @ 5:00-6:30 pm BST | 12:00-1:30 pm ET

Presenter: Roderick Main, Professor, University of Essex

Carl Jung’s major essay about synchronicity was originally published in a joint book, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche, alongside an essay about Kepler by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli. When English translations of the essays were being prepared, Pauli was urged by his physics colleagues to publish his essay separately from Jung’s. However, Pauli insisted that the essays should continue to be published together: “The book is itself a fateful ‘synchronicity,’” he wrote with emphasis, and must remain one.”

In this presentation, I take Pauli’s comment seriously, perhaps more seriously than he intended, and look at his and Jung’s joint book as though it were a synchronicity. If the “psychic” and “physical” components of the book, namely, the essay of Jung the psychologist and the essay of Pauli the physicist, are acausally connected through meaning, what is that meaning? As can be done with synchronicities generally, I offer an interpretation of the book in relation to various levels of meaning that can be elicited from it: from the parallels between the book’s component essays, to the sense of numinosity that it evokes, to its transformational significance for its two authors, and finally to its possible transpersonal or archetypal significance.

About Our Presenter

Roderick Main, PhD, works at the University of Essex, where he is Professor in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and Director of the Centre for Myth Studies. His most recent book is Breaking the Spell of Disenchantment: Mystery, Meaning, and Metaphysics in the Work of C. G. Jung (Chiron Publications, 2022).